Plenty of firewood

Posted by on November 7, 2011 at 8:56 am.

Woodpile 3

Do you think we have enough wood to last the winter?

I’m not sure why, but I feel that it’s going to be a cold winter. I’ve been having this feeling since springtime.

I’ve always found it fascinating to see that some animals seem to know when cold weather is ahead.

At the edge of the pool stood the muskrats’ house. It was taller than Laura, and far larger than her arms could reach around…The muskrats had gnawed dry grass to bits and mixed the bits well with mud to make a good plaster for their house, and they had built it up solidly and smoothly and rounded the top carefully to shed rain…

…Inside those thick, still walls, Pa said, the muskrats were sleeping now, each family curled in its own little room lined softly with grass…

…There they curled comfortably to sleep.

Laura put her hand on the wall of their house. The coarse plaster was hot in the hot wind and sunshine, but inside the thick mud walls, in the dark, the air must be cool. She liked to think of the muskrats sleeping there.

* Pa was shaking his head. “We’re going to have a hard winter,” he said, not liking the prospect.

“Why, how do you know?” Laura asked in surprise.

* “The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses,” Pa told her. “I never saw a heavier-built muskrats’ house than that one.”

Laura looked at it again. It was very solid and big. But the sun was blazing, burning on her shoulders through the faded, thin calico and the hot wind was blowing, and stronger than the damp mud smell  of the slough was the ripening smell of grasses parching in the heat. Laura could hardly think of ice and snow and cruel cold. ”

The Long Winter (p.12) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Some animals (like beavers and muskrats) will make their walls a bit thicker. Occasionally, you’ll see other wild animals get thicker coats and a tad heavier in preparation for the potentially unforgiving months of frigid weather.

I did a Google search, and judging by the  winter weather forecast for 2011/12 it seems that the Farmer’s Almanac shares my views — well at least for certain parts of the United States.

For the winter of 2011–12, the Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting “clime and punishment,” a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. For some parts of the country, that means a frigid climate; while for others, it will mean lots of rain and snow.

Ok back to that woodpile…

To give you and idea of how massive this woodpile is, I’d like to point out that this pile is over 5′ tall. Which is how tall I am.  You’re only seeing one layer. It’s three layers deep, this is the last layer that was stacked. Additionally, on the opposite side, there’s another neatly stacked woodpile, admittedly it’s not as impressive as this one.

Even if this winter is incredibly nasty, we’ll still have enough wood to last for several winters.

I’ll be happy if there’s a few blizzards tossed into the mix. At least for my area — don’t hate me Marylanders, but I love cold weather!



* Bold emphasis mine


  • Mike Goad says:

    Our firewood is for “just in case” situations.

    The fireplace heats one room well, but then the heat doesn’t come on for the rest of the house, which just gets colder.

    There is a very good probability for a colder than normal winter.
    Mike Goad recently posted..Northwest Passage–On to Colorado.


    Opal Reply:

    Hello @Mike Goad,
    We use a wood stove, thus far it’s done a great job of keeping the entire house fairly warm. I was actually surprised that we didn’t need to use any electric heat last winter. That was a nice surprise since the electric bill was low.

    The wood was ‘free’ since it came from our property and the nearby landfill. Landscaping companies usually carry the downed tress to those places. Of course the trees didn’t cut or stack themselves. On those days I didn’t go to the gym, since I got a great workout from cutting and stacking the wood.
    Opal recently posted..Natural glass cleaner; earth friendly recipes


  • suituapui says:

    Yes, the animals and the insects seem to know. Here, if we see ants migrating upwards, we would know that a flood is coming…and if we see birds flying away in large numbers, there would be a disaster…a fire perhaps.

    P.S. Food cooked with firewood or charcoal tastes a whole lot better.
    suituapui recently posted..Just for one day…


    Opal Reply:

    Hello @suituapui, I’ve heard about the ants, but haven’t really seen that, since we don’t get too much flooding in this area. This year, I have seen birds migrating South earlier than normal.

    P.S. Food cooked with firewood or charcoal tastes a whole lot better.

    I agree, when we burn wood. I usually make something prepared on top of our wood stove. The taste compared to modern day cookstove, is so much better.


  • philip says:

    Hi Opal, looks like you’re ready for the winter. That’s a fine looking pile of wood. Here in Texas, I don’t get to use my fireplace much so no firewood for me.
    philip recently posted..Believe


    Opal Reply:

    Hi @philip,
    Thanks for stopping by.

    My brother and sister in law live in Texas. They did get some snow (in their part of Texas last year).

    This year, my daughter and I will most likely be celebrating a warm Christmas with them. Although I’m sad that I won’t see snow, I’m happy that we’ll be with them. 🙂


  • Beth Ellen Nagle says:

    Wow, that is a lot of wood! My uncles always gathered wood for my mom in Eastern Arizona. When I was there I’d stack the wood for her. It was good hard work. I sometimes split wood as well. The wood my uncles gathered from the area were from downed cedar trees. I love the smell of cedar.


    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Beth Ellen Nagle,
    It’s an excellent workout, that’s for sure; chopping and stacking. My daughter helped a little, but she mainly played while I worked. 🙂

    I love the smell of cedar too.
    Opal recently posted..Natural glass cleaner; earth friendly recipes


  • Jennifer says:

    Being born and raised in Buffalo – you would think I would be used to cold and snow but I hate it! I LOVE summer! 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted..Jasmine with Flowers from Fusion Tea Room


    Opal Reply:

    I know @Jennifer,
    You should be used to all that snow! Geeze you get a ton of it when you lived in Buffalo, right? 😉
    Opal recently posted..Proud member of A Crafting Start


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